Ahmaud Arbery’s family rejected a plea deal in the federal civil rights case of two men convicted of his murder.
Ebony reported that the Department of Justice approached Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, about a plea deal that would have Travis McMichael and his father Gregory McMichael spend 30 years in prison if they acknowledge that their crime was motivated by hate, Lee Merritt, the family’s attorney said. Having been sentenced in Georgia state court, the three defendants are scheduled to stand trial in federal court.
As News Onyx previously reported, Arbery’s mother was committed to the defendants being prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. “Your honor, these men have chosen to lie and attack my son and his surviving family,” she said at their sentencing for state charges. “They each have no remorse and do not deserve any leniency. This wasn’t a case of mistaken identity or mistaken fact. They chose to target my son because they didn’t want him in their community. They chose to treat him differently than other people who frequently visited their community. And when they couldn’t sufficiently scare him or intimidate him, they killed him.”
Then, she asked that the judge throw the book at the killers.
“They were fully committed to their crimes,” Cooper-Jones said. “Let them be fully committed for the consequences.”
In addition to state charges, the three men are being charged with federal hate crimes that accuse the defendants of using threats and force to intimidate and interfere with Arbery’s constitutional right to use a public street because of his race. “I think that the federal charges are just as important as the state charges, and I think that they need to stand trial for those charges as well,” Cooper-Jones said.
Both McMichaels along with neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan were convicted of state murder charges in November and sentenced last week. The state sentenced the father and son to life without parole and Bryan to life with parole. The federal trial is set to begin on February 7, 2022.